Thanatopsis V Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

850 Words4 Pages
Throughout time, the theories and ideas surrounding the concepts of life and death have been varied to say the least. How should one live his life, religiously or agnostically? What happens to a man after he dies? These are the questions that people have been arguing about since man has had the ability to communicate. Yet to this day, no one seems any closer to an answer than when they first started. In consequence, when trying to compare two works with very different views of life and death, like Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards and Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant, one can find many differences, but also a few key similarities. To be specific, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God shows that Jonathan Edwards believes that the sinful way man lives his life brings wrath from a god that they should fear, while Thanatopsis portrays a worldview in which death is welcomed and god is not considered. In his work Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, Edwards uses fear to manipulate his audience into repenting and turn to Christ. His puritan worldview led him to believe that “God has laid himself under no obligation, by any promise to keep any natural man out of hell” (Edwards 175). He thought that one should live his life fearing the Lord, and fearing hell even more. Edwards tries to convince his listeners of life's uncertainty: death is always but a breath away, and for the wicked that meant that perdition was always but a breath away. This sermon was intended as a wake-up call for those in the audience who underplayed the greatness of God and overemphasized their own worthiness. In opposition to Edwards beliefs, through his work Thanatopsis, Bryant portrays an acceptance of death. He believes that one shouldn’t live in fear of dying, in fact, he actually states the opposite in his poem. When one is being overwhelmed by thoughts of death he
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